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View Poll Results: Should the US build or improve it's HSR network?
Yes 249 89.57%
No 29 10.43%
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Old August 6th, 2014, 10:32 PM   #4801
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(Gov. Jerry) Brown brokered a budget deal that guarantees the rail line its first funding stream through fees collected from the state's biggest polluters ("cap and trade"). Within the next few years, leading economists say, bullet train funding could reach about three-quarters of a billion dollars a year.

. . . private companies recently have begun expressing interest in the project -- which only several months ago seemed to be on life support.
http://www.mercurynews.com/californi...-big-appellate

So . . . . As a result of the court ruling, the project can sell the bonds and bank the $10 billion needed to get started, after which it will have the $750 million a year coming in. And there's the possibility of private participation which I think is very real. There are now a number of Australian and Canadian companies, in particular (I'm thinking McQuarie, Brookfield), involved in private ownership of transportation infrastructure and, in some cases, public-private partnership in infrastructure development.
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Old August 7th, 2014, 11:06 PM   #4802
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Aug 5, 2014, 2:49pm PDT UPDATED: Aug 6, 2014, 1:41pm PDT
Private investors warming to California bullet train
Eric Young
Reporter-San Francisco Business Times

Private investors are starting to express interest in funding part of California’s planned bullet train, giving a boost to the $68 billion project.

Nine companies, mostly large construction, engineering and infrastructure firms that have worked on high-speed rail elsewhere, have written letters saying they are interested in financing part of what would be the state’s largest-ever infrastructure project.

“We would be very interested in participating in the competition for the construction and financing of California high-speed rail projects,” reads part of a letter from AECOM, a major engineering firm.

Other companies writing to bullet train planners include Grupo ACS, Sener, Vinci Concessions, Siemens, Railgrup, Sacyr, Acciona Concesiones and Astaldi SpA.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority said it expects more companies will step forward. “We fully expect this is just the first wave of private interest,” said Ben Tripousis, the northern regional director of the High-Speed Rail Authority . . . .

It is still too early to know what kinds of investments the California High-Speed Rail Authority will want from private funders. The state might ask private companies to provide loans that are paid back with interest. Or the state may want deals where private companies get a concession to operate a part of the bullet train for a period of time . . . .

Work on the first section of the bullet train line — a 29-mile stretch in the Central Valley — has begun. Construction crews are relocating utility infrastructure and building a bridge.

The first phase of the bullet train’s tracks, running from Merced to the San Fernando Valley, is expected to be completed by 2022. The entire system, connecting San Francisco to Anaheim, will be done by 2028, the rail authority said.
http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfranci...41674&page=all
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Old August 8th, 2014, 01:42 AM   #4803
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"Work on the first section of the bullet train line — a 29-mile stretch in the Central Valley — has begun. Construction crews are relocating utility infrastructure and building a bridge."

Really? They have really begun construction works?
That is unbelievable. After at least three decades of talking and all sort of HSR-project presentationa all over the US I have was convinced that billions of dollars were spent in those tons of shiny PR material and studies, leaving no further funds for the real work. But wonders happen...
:-)
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Old August 8th, 2014, 01:56 AM   #4804
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Originally Posted by krisu99 View Post
no further funds for the real work.
Let me make clear once again: California has funds. What has been spent so far on design work, some ROW purchase and legal battles is mostly the federal money from the 2008 "stimulus"--about $2.5 billion as I recall. The $10 billion worth of authorized bonds haven't been sold yet--because THAT was tied up in court but is now free thanks to a very recent Appeals Court decision--and the state has now provided $750 million per year for the indefinite future in CO2 "cap and trade" money. If the project takes until 2028, that's another $10 billion and, since that money need not stop, the state should be able to sell "revenue anticipation" bonds on it beyond 2028 for some more. And finally, we have what I posted: growing interest from private parties. So we'll have to see what sort of deal the state can put together with private outfits.

In total, I can see about half the projected cost plus whatever the public-private arrangements can bring in.
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Old August 8th, 2014, 02:51 AM   #4805
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is Bakersfield-LA Basin the next sector to be built?
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Old August 8th, 2014, 06:51 AM   #4806
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No, probably not. They are working on a "29 mile segment". Wikipedia says (I can only assume correctly) "California and Federal ARRA funds are available to complete a 130-mile (209 km) initial segment from Fresno to Bakersfield in the Central Valley by 2017". That's still all in the Central Valley. So is what I think would be next--the 60 miles from Fresno to Merced.

Then they are going to have to cross a mountain range, either north between Merced and San Jose (linking up with CalTrain and essentially having a route from San Francisco to Bakersfield which is what today's San Joaquin trains do), or south for 85 miles between Bakersfield and the high desert town of Palmdale (Palmdale is the proposed link to a private high speed train to Las Vegas I believe). North is Pacheco Pass, south is Tehachapi Pass. Tehachapi will have to be tunneled for HSR (the current freights do it with a spectacular switch-back that rail fans come from around the world to see, the Tehachapi Loop). I'm not sure about Pacheco but I suspect that also may require a tunnel.

The Tehachapi Loop

http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=ut...Tehachapi+Loop

Next, Palmdale to LA is 58 miles and requires crossing more mountains--another tunnel--the San Gabriels.

That completes what they are calling "Phase 1", and from there they are home free, traveling down the coast to San Diego in "Phase 2", part way (LA to Anaheim--29 miles) on existing track as well as the 130 flat miles from Merced to Sacramento.
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Old August 8th, 2014, 07:58 AM   #4807
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Reaching LA from Bakersfield ought to be a priority after the currently funded initial section is built. SF could be reached already even if not very quickly.
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Old August 8th, 2014, 09:50 AM   #4808
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I agree but clearly the plan is to build the entire Central Valley portion first because it's easiest and cheapest and you get more miles of track for the dollar. It's the tunnels that will be most expensive and the urban areas where the legal fights are most intense. Also, I think the state thinks that the Central Valley part really is sort of a railroad to nowhere (although it gives Amtrak's trains a line to use where they don't compete with freights) and once it's built, even opponents will see the wisdom in connecting it to one or another (if not both) of the metros.
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Old August 8th, 2014, 11:57 AM   #4809
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal_Escapee View Post
I agree but clearly the plan is to build the entire Central Valley portion first because it's easiest and cheapest and you get more miles of track for the dollar. It's the tunnels that will be most expensive and the urban areas where the legal fights are most intense.
I think there's also another kind of politics involved here. I seem to remember that when they constructed the Erie Canal they started in the middle as well? On the face of things this made no sense at all. However, there was a fear that if one started at one end then parts of the local communities would feel (say, halfway through the construction) that their needs had now been served, at which point their support for a finalisation of the project might evaporate. Similar here: the railway line is billed as a connection between SF and LA, but it is clear that a big chunk of the traffic will consist of transporting passengers over shorter distances, like SF-San Jose or Bakersfield-LA. Hence, a signal is sent to the citizens (and mayors) of the two big cities: "nothing is finished before all is finished!"
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Old August 8th, 2014, 06:24 PM   #4810
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From Rail Journal:

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http://www.railjournal.com/index.php...ml?channel=542

Nine US mayors push for Chicago – Columbus passenger service
Friday, August 08, 2014



THE mayors of nine cities in the US states of Indiana and Ohio plan to sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the Northern Indiana/Ohio High Speed Rail Initiative which seeks to introduce a passenger rail service along the 480km Chicago - Columbus corridor

A feasibility study completed last year for the Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association concluded that around 2.1 million riders would use the route in 2020, with that number growing to more than 3 million in 2040.

One of the objectives of the MOA is to secure funding for an environmental impact study (EIS) to be submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration. The EIS would examine preliminary engineering, technical analysis, service planning and environmental impacts along several routes in order to determine the preferred route for the service. This study could begin in late 2014 and would take 18 months to complete.

"This is a big step forward in the effort to bring passenger rail back to our community," says the mayor of Fort Wayne, Mr Tom Henry. "The Chicago - Fort Wayne - Columbus corridor will increase transportation alternatives and help boost economic development and tourism."

A service of up to 12 trains per day is envisaged, with an express service linking Chicago with Columbus in less than four hours.
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Old August 8th, 2014, 10:56 PM   #4811
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What route are they proposing?
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Old August 8th, 2014, 11:03 PM   #4812
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In principle why not although why that particular route and why so slow?
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Old August 9th, 2014, 01:43 AM   #4813
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Old August 9th, 2014, 08:06 PM   #4814
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and they're about to upgrade that to 160 mph service
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Old August 10th, 2014, 04:49 AM   #4815
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Palmdale to Burbank will be the next section built. This is apparently being done to win support of LA suburb politicians who otherwise don't like the project. But this will be the most expensive section to build at an estimated $14 billion.
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Old August 10th, 2014, 05:45 AM   #4816
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Illinois Governor Quinn and Company Officials Open Nippon Sharyo Expansion in Rochelle


Governor Quinn and Company Officials Open Nippon Sharyo Expansion in Rochelle by Illinois Department of Transportation, on Flickr

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July 30, 2014

Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by Nippon Sharyo Manufacturing, LLC officials to open their expanded passenger rail car production facility, Shop 3, at the company’s Rochelle manufacturing plant. The new facility will help Nippon Sharyo become even more competitive in the United States passenger railcar market, meet the industry’s growing “Buy America” demands and create 90 jobs at the Rochelle facility. Today’s event is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs in the booming high speed rail industry and drive Illinois’ economy forward.

“We’re proud to work with Nippon Sharyo as we build a 21st century transportation infrastructure in Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “By using 100 percent American-made components Nippon Sharyo is also helping to create even more jobs here at home and driving our state’s economy.”

"We will now be able to fabricate, weld and assemble parts for our car body shells right here, making Nippon Sharyo a 100% Buy America compliant rail car builder,” Nippon Sharyo Chairman Katsuyuki Ikushima said. “From start to finish our rail cars will be made in the U.S. for use in the U.S. I hope we will become the top passenger railcar builder in North America.”
Illinois Department of Transportation
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Old August 10th, 2014, 08:42 PM   #4817
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Old August 12th, 2014, 05:26 AM   #4818
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Old August 13th, 2014, 06:43 PM   #4819
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From Rail Journal:

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http://www.railjournal.com/index.php...ml?channel=542

STB approves Fresno – Bakersfield HS line
Wednesday, August 13, 2014



THE United States Surface Transportation Board (STB) has authorised California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) to begin construction on the Fresno – Bakersfield section of the state's high-speed network

The approval covers construction package 2-3, the 97km stretch of the Initial Operating Section (IOS 1) between East America Avenue south of Fresno and the border between Kern and Tulare counties northwest of Bakersfield. The route largely follows the route of the existing BNSF line from Fresno to Bakersfield via Hanford. Five consortia have been shortlisted for construction package 2-3, and CHSRA expects to award the contract before the end of the year.

CHSRA announced on August 12 that it has awarded the US subsidiary of Arcadis, Netherlands, a contract for design and construction supervision services on construction package 2-3. The contract could be worth up to $US 71m over five years.

Construction is already underway on the northern section of the IOS between Fresno and Madera
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Old August 14th, 2014, 03:02 AM   #4820
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Making the Case for High-Speed Rail - NYTimes Editorial

From the Editorial:

High-speed rail can play an important role in the nation’s transportation system by reducing congestion at airports and on highways.
It can also provide a big economic boost while helping to reduce pollution that is causing climate change.
That is why President Obama gave it an important place in the 2009 stimulus bill, which helped kick-start projects to upgrade rail lines
and build new ones around the country.




http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/13/op...RecEngine&_r=0
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